Why does under-automation make business growth painful?
To one extent or another, growth is the aim of a large percentage of all businesses. Beyond mere ambition, this can be a necessity. At some point, the market may require wider selections of merchandise, larger volumes of existing options, or even entirely new product lines. The pressure the marketplaces on businesses forces growth to be a constant consideration, both for expansion and business survival purposes.
However, as under-automation symptoms persist across so many different warehouse-utilising businesses, more and more companies are feeling that growth is something that is consistently out of reach. Despite the market necessity of such, it seems as though expansion – whether born from ambition or response to the market’s conditions, is just something that is completely and utterly off the table for most businesses. Not without a radical new approach. This is the problem of growing pains.
What are business growth pains?
Growth pains, in the context of warehouse-utilising businesses, refers to a seemingly paradoxical situation where two conflicting realities are true at the same time.
The first is where expansion is required to survive in the contemporary marketplace. This could be to complete fulfilment at higher speeds as market expectations rise or to carry a greater volume or variety of goods, or any number of other industry-specific reasons.
Yet at the same time, expansion is nearly impossible because of the surrounding market conditions. There are too many obstacles of too great a standing for your business to be able to expand based on its current model.
How does under-automation cause business growth pains?
The cause behind so many of these growth pains is an under-automated warehouse operation. The obvious cost of commercial real estate is just one of the major problems here. So many of the costs and obstacles associated with expanding a warehouse-utilising business are directly linked to the problems of either manually managed warehouses, or warehouses using a fixed and static automation system.
In a manual warehouse situation, as has been seen in previous discussions on this topic, the problem with expansion is that it necessitates new hiring. Salary is only a small slice of the expense involved in this process. Advertising the positions, filtering out candidates, equipping all your new staff, training them on proper techniques, instructing them in health and safety, and organising all other aspects of HR. All of this is extremely expensive, and comes with the added cost related to seasonal spikes in hiring that will always be necessary for manual warehouse operations.
In a fixed automation situation, expanding a warehouse requires the construction of layer upon layer of new infrastructure. Rails and gantries and conveyors for robots and goods to move along and around. This is both expensive and time-consuming, creating a huge series of blockages for you and your business when you are looking to expand.
How does flexible robotics soothe business growth pains?
When either situational necessity or business ambition cause you to want to grow, the way to do so while minimising pains is with flexible automation. Using autonomous mobile robots to get your warehouse up to speed makes it far easier to expand than any other alternative. The following are the reasons why.
Whether you are expanding a warehouse that uses fixed automation or manual processes, the costs involved will always cause growth pains. These costs can come either from the vast amount of extensive built-in-place infrastructure that fixed robotics requires, or the large volume of new pickers you will need to be hiring up front, along with all their related HR and training expenditure. These kinds of costs, and the delay before the expense yields a return, is sure to make any expansion seriously difficult
However, with flexible robotics, the rapidity of the ROI means that expansion becomes a much more palatable and reasonable option. With an average ROI timetable of 18 months, an investment in flexible robotics is a much more economical alternative.
Labour expenses and infrastructure outlay too often cripple manual and fixed robotic warehouses before they begin. With the correct high dose of automation, a new warehouse can be up and running and generating profit in a much healthier timeframe.
Flexible robotics requires none of the lengthy hiring, training, and managing processes that are commonly associated with manual warehouse expansion. Nor is there any lag time between when the robots are initially deployed and when they reach maximum speed. While staff can struggle to become familiar with all the processes and procedures of a warehouse before they reach peak efficiency, a flexible automation system is up to speed as soon as the implementation is complete.
This implementation is dramatically faster than any fixed robotic alternative. With all the infrastructure and equipment that needs to be deployed to make a fixed system work, you can be looking at over a year before a fixed automation warehouse comes online. In contrast, the only infrastructure needed for a goods-to-person solution is the picking stations, freestanding racks, optional picking spotlights, and DM codes affixed to the floor.
With a flexible robotic solution, your warehouse can be up and running with an automated process in a matter of weeks. A fraction of what could be expected with a fixed or manual warehouse expansion endeavour.
Discover flexible robotics – discover Wise Robotics
To see for yourself how flexible robotics offers a salve to the pains of business growth, contact Wise Robotics today. Speak with our experts to learn more about industry 4.0 and the future of flexible robotics.
You can even visit us in person. Wise Robotics is proud to own and operate Europe’s first flexible robotics demonstration centre. See the robots in action, learn how they work, and why they offer so much in the way of improved efficiency.
Once you witness the capabilities of flexible robotics for yourself, you’ll understand the opportunities available when your under-automation is cured.